A short documentary charting the last 50 years of Manchester’s LGBTQ history through the personal story of two incredible women – feminist lesbian activists and founders of the pioneering Northern Women’s Liberation Rock Band.
Please pledge a donation if you can to help fund this important project and make sure this story is not lost to history: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/779911130/invisible-women-the-story-of-two-lgbtq-revolutiona
INVISIBLE WOMEN is a short documentary that will tell the untold story of the North West’s LGBTQ past over the last 50 years through the lens of two women’s incredible journey of activism and rebellion. Angela and Luchia have spent the last half a century fighting for their rights as women and as lesbians. Their work has revolutionised Manchester whilst transforming the lives of thousands of women and yet no record of them exists in the city’s archives; theirs is a story that risks disappearing from history. We want to change that with the film: INVISIBLE WOMEN.
THE STORY: Manchester, 1969. Luchia Fitzgerald, a teenage Lesbian runaway from Ireland struggles to survive on the streets of Manchester. She’s arrested and sent for a lobotomy to cure her of her “deviant sexual tendencies”. Luchia escapes the lobotomy to seek solace in the New Union, a pub at the epicentre of Manchester’s underground gay community. Luchia is at her lowest ebb when she hears a female student at the next table giving voice to every frustration she felt; Luchia pulls up a chair to listen. That student was Angela and this chance encounter sparked a relationship that has endured fifty years of euphoric highs and earth-shattering lows in the struggle to change life for ALL women.
Under Angela’s wing Luchia is educated and politicised through the burgeoning Women’s Liberation movement of the 1970s. The pair fall in love and form the Manchester branch of the GLF (Gay Liberation Front). Together they experiment with activism beginning by painting “Lesbians are everywhere” in yellow across Manchester. The couple then progress to helping form a rock band, [see more on https://womensliberationmusicarchive.co.uk/n/] opening a printing press and squatting a house that would become the city’s first women’s centre inspiring other local women in the process. When the police ask Angela and Luchia to start looking after battered wives Manchester’s first women’s refuge is formed.
As their work gains a momentum of its own and changes lives beyond the city Angela and Luchia’s love affair begins to falter. The GLF disbands, the band splits up and the printing press closes. It’s the 1980s and things are moving backwards not forwards. Set against this landscape of apathy comes a bombshell: Thatcher’s repressive Section 28 bill. It is this attack against their hard-won rights that forces the women to reunite and transform the city once again.
WHY THIS FILM MATTERS: 2017 witnessed a rich variety of programmes and films that explored the 50 years since the partial decriminalization of homosexuality. However, the vast majority of this work focused almost exclusively on the experience of white, middle-class gay men from London. The women’s story, and particularly the story of regional working-class women, has largely been ignored.
Whilst the film is ostensibly about Angela and Luchia’s personal and political journey we are using their relationship to explore Manchester and, in particular, the forgotten and, up until now, untold story of the North West’s LGBTQ past through a working class lens of rebellion and activism which is still alive today: Angela and Luchia are still very much fighting for their rights and the rights of LGBTQ people in Manchester.
WHY NOW: In 2018 – the year that marks the centenary since women won the partial right to vote AND the 30th anniversary since Thatcher enacted Section 28 – we want to bring the INVISIBLE WOMEN out from the shadows of history.
WHAT WE NEED AND COST: Until now we have entirely self-funded the project using our own camera kit to shoot. We have also been supported by institutions such as Manchester’s Peoples’ History Museum, Manchester Central Library, Contact Theatre and the Bishopsgate institute in London who have all offered either free filming locations or archive material. We have now provisionally got a premiere date: Manchester Pride, 24th – 27th August 2018 with support from the event organisers who are keen to feature women predominately in the festival.
In order to complete the film in time for Manchester Pride 2018 we need funding to license archive material, pay for the edit and commission a score.
ABOUT US Alice Smith (director) has factual TV broadcast credits as a producer on documentaries for BBC 4, PBS, National Geographic and Discovery Channel. Her directing work includes short films, music videos and a Youtube channel (Super Women launching Summer 2018) that will feature documentary content about inspirational women, made entirely by women. Joe Ingham (producer) is a factual TV producer whose credits include The People’s History of LGBT Britain (BBC 4), Is Love Racist (C4), The Beatles Hippies and Hell’s Angels for Sky Arts.
Risks and challenges: With Manchester Pride 2018 looming there is a risk that we may not be able to complete the film in time for the premier. To mitigate this we have drawn on our years of experience working in broadcast TV. We’ve shot and edited as much of the material as possible and without funding. We have sourced all the archive material ourselves and we know exactly what we want to use and how. We have also lined up a composer and editor so that they can begin work as soon as we have secured the necessary funding.
Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ